Feature, Freight News, Sea

New Stena ships to sail to Belfast

[ February 15, 2017   //   ]

Stena has earmarked four new ro-pax ferries announced last year for delivery in 2019 and 2020 for two of its Belfast routes. The vessels are currently being built at the AVIC Shipyard in China and, with a capacity of 3,000 lane metres will be the largest ferries ever to operate between Belfast and Great Britain, as well as being among the biggest in the entire Stena fleet.

Stena Line operates 14 services a day to Belfast on routes from Cairnyan, Liverpool (Birkenhead) and Heysham. As ro-paxes, with passenger accommodation, the new vessels have been assigned to the Cairnryan and Liverpool services but not the freight-only Heysham route.

Stena Line chief executive Niclas Mårtensson said the new ships would be among the most fuel efficient in the world with about 25% lower CO2 emissions per cargo unit than current ro-pax tonnage. They will run on traditional fuel, but are designed as “gas ready” and are also prepared for scrubbers as well as catalytic converters, giving flexibility for the future, he added.

He added: “The routes to and from Belfast are strategically very important to Stena Line and during the last number of years we have made significant investments in ports and vessels to improve and develop our capacity. We intend to continue our ambitious development plan for our business in the region and the new vessels are a part of this strategic plan.”

He said that during the last few years Stena had seen steady growth in freight and passenger volumes with a record 500,000 freight units moved through Belfast Port said Stena Line’s CEO Niclas Mårtensson.

Belfast Harbour commercial director, Joe O’Neill, described the new ships as “a significant investment in and enhancement of Northern Ireland’s premier freight and tourism gateway.  Belfast Harbour has worked in close partnership with Stena Line over the last two decades to help it expand its Belfast routes into a flourishing hub and this very welcome investment news comes on the back of a record year for Stena Line’s freight business in Belfast Harbour.”